Minister Miklos Giterson
PHILIPSBURG–Based on the registry of long-lease holders managed by the Department of Domain Affairs, NAf. 5,810,255 should be collected yearly for long lease of government land, Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Miklos Giterson told Members of Parliament during a meeting earlier this week.
He was answering the questions of Members of Parliament (MPs) during the continuation of an urgent public plenary session on the situation regarding “Erfpacht” land in St. Maarten.
Giterson said the amount of NAf. 5,810,255 is set in the 2019 budget. This amount is based on the actual long-lease agreements that were in place at the time of the preparation of that budget. There are monthly mutations to the amount that is due take place based on changes to existing or registrations of new long-lease agreements in the system.
“In general, the long-lease revenues will continue to increase over time based on mutations made. The amount that is actually collected on a yearly basis may vary based on delinquencies in payments by lease-holders that are experienced by the Receiver which affects the amount in a negative way.
“However, this can also vary by collection of multiple years of backlogs on outstanding amounts by the Receiver, which affects the revenues in a positive way. So, the actual amounts collected on a yearly basis will vary,” Giterson explained.
He said the Department of Domain Affairs has no actual real-time insight into the amounts owed to the government at this time. The amounts owed will need to be determined by a detailed analysis of all long-lease cases, through a search of the administration of Finance and the Receiver.
“This is a very time-consuming process under the responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. A process like this was started in 2016, which led to the collection of a significant amount of arrears in long-lease fees,” he explained.
He said that for the improvement in the collection of outstanding long-lease fees, the Department had Government Accountant Bureau SOAB conduct an assessment of the procedure in the management of the collection of long-lease revenues with the aim of making recommendations for an improved system of long-lease fees collection.
“A very comprehensive recommendation report was made for an integrated information system between Domain Affairs, Finance and Receiver, using Microsoft Dynamics CRM to improve the revenue management. VROMI is looking into securing the funds, in the amount of approximately NAf. 350,000, for the investments needed to implement this system,” he said.
“Other than this, there are no written policies on the management or administration of long-lease land at the moment, and the basis we use for the management of long-lease land is the law.”